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Department of Health in Orange County Encourages Proper Food Safety This Holiday Season

By Kent Donahue

December 14, 2017

The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends.  The Florida Department of Health in Orange County would like to encourage Floridians to make it a healthy and safe season by practicing basic food safety measures while preparing meals.

Everyone can be at risk for food poisoning. Young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weak immune systems are more at risk for food poisoning. Many of the reported cases of foodborne illness are caused by bacteria or by the toxins produced by bacteria. Bacteria multiply extremely fast when food is kept at an unsafe temperature (above 41 and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit). 

The department recommends the following for reducing the chances of food contamination.

  • Clean. Wash hands, utensils and surfaces before and after food preparation, especially after preparing meat, poultry, eggs or seafood. Be sure to keep all countertops and work areas clean with hot, soapy water;
  • Cook to Proper Temperature.  Read the cooking directions on packaging before preparing. The safest thawing method is in the refrigerator at 40 degrees. Make sure the food is cooked at the proper internal temperature and check for doneness with a food thermometer;
  • Chill – Refrigerate Properly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours. Make sure the refrigerator is set at no higher than 40 degrees and the freezer is set at 0 degrees; and
  • Separate – Don’t cross contaminate. Keep raw meats, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready to eat food. It is recommended that leftovers be heated to 165 degrees.

For more information on how to keep your family safe from foodborne-illness this holiday season, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/.